Maximizing free bets is one of the most important ways to be a profitable sports bettor in the competitive market that legalized sports betting has become. To try and differentiate themselves from other sportsbooks, sites will offer promotions and enticing deals to try and grab a hold of their consumers.
One of the most popular means to an end of these promotions is a free bet. For example, a sportsbook may have a special deal where if you lose a specific bet, they refund your stake in the form of a free bet.
Free bets do not have the same value as cash, because the sportsbook isn’t risking any money for you, they are just covering your stake. In other words, if you win a $50 free bet at -110 odds, you do not get the $50 you risked plus the $45.45 in winnings credited to your account. The winnings will be $45.45, since the bettor did not risk any personal stake.
Because of this, it’s always better to use free bets on an underdog or long-odds lottery ticket where the majority of the payout is in winnings, not stake.
For example, if a bettor who hasn’t read this article chose to place a $50 free bet on a -1000 favorite to try and “guarantee” some winnings, those winnings would only be $5 coming from a free bet valued at $50. That wouldn’t make much sense and is certainly not maximizing the value from their free bet.
If that bettor doesn’t want to risk losing the entire free bet value and does want to lock in a profit, here is the best way to do so:
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How does Free Bet Conversion Work:
Overall, to maximize the expected value on your free bets, we’ve established you should be placing them on longer odds of +500 or more. However, there is another less risky strategy called free bet conversion, where you hedge your free bets to convert them into cash, albeit at a smaller rate of return.
Because you do not get your stake back with free bets, only the winnings, it is best to always place your free bet on the heavy underdog and your hedge bet on the favorite. This is because if the hedge bet wins, you will also be returned your stake and the loss would only be your free bet.
To maximize the return on a free bet hedge, head to the Free Bet Conversion Tool on OddsJam. There you’ll see opportunities to sort by conversion percentage. This is the percentage at which you will convert your free bet into cash, typically at 75% or more. In the top right corner, click the filters button next to the refresh button and filter by the sportsbook where you have earned the free bet to see all the relevant opportunities.
Once those two filters are applied, you’ll see a table of hedging opportunities to maximize a guaranteed profit from the free bet. Typically, you should always aim for the conversion percentage to be above 70%, which means that you’ll be able to hedge a $100 free bet into $70, no matter the outcome of the event.
Sometimes there are opportunities as high as 80% or even greater, but those can often require a huge bankroll on another book since the hedge odds might be something like -1200. To see exactly how much you should risk on the hedge line, hit the calculator icon and it will tell you what the stake should be.
Free Bet Conversion Example:
Let’s take a look at an example, filtered assuming the free bet is on DraftKings:
The conversion percentage is the second column, so nearly 75%. Let’s say the free bet is only $10, but you want to be sure to get something out of it by hedging. Hit the calculator icon and plug in $10 as the free play amount that you have.
As you can see, the optimal way to hedge is to place your free bet on Liverpool -4.5 at +700 odds on DraftKings, and the Leeds +4.5 bet on either BetRivers or TwinSpires.
Based on these odds, the calculator says to hedge about $62.50 on the Leeds +4.5 bet assuming the $10 free bet at +700 is placed on DraftKings.
If Liverpool covers the -4.5, you’ll receive a payout of $70 on the free bet (winnings only), minus your hedge bet of $62.51, netting you a profit of $7.49.
If Leeds covers the +4.5 you’ll receive a payout of $70 (winnings + stake), netting you a profit of $7.49 and you “lose” the $10 free bet. No matter the outcome of the match, your bankroll will grow by $7.49.
Free bet conversion is a great strategy for locking in profit from the promotional free bets that many sportsbooks offer. It is less risky than simply betting them and crossing your fingers but allows you to guarantee profit. This is especially useful for free bets in larger amounts, often given as a part of promotional sign-up offers. If you have more questions on free bets or free bet conversion visit the OddsJam YouTube page for more information.